Arthur’s Journey Part 3:
337 Days to go
Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe has just become European Champion of the Modern Pentathlon. In a sport dominated by Europeans historically, let’s take a moment to process that.
Apart from Boxing, long distance running and swimming, Ireland hasn’t had that much overall success in the greatest Sports event in the world. From recollection, only the Super Bowl final and the Soccer World Cup have even close to more global viewership and only take place over one nights entertainment.
The Olympics is the event in which respect, loyalty and fair play combine nations together under the guise of nationalism but realistically are patriarchy and pit competitors of different origins against one another fairly.
The Olympics is the pinnacle of a sportsperson’s career. And Ireland has a hope in Art.
We, as a country, should not be even in the running for a medal in any sport. Sure, if was music or poetry or theatrics or general beautiful writing or craic and respect, of course we’d be up there and many of our citizens are (U2, Celtic Woman, Joyce, Wilde, Day-Lewis, Farrell, Fassbender, O’Dowd, Heaney, Beckett, D Higgins respectively) but realistically, from a country of barely 5 million people, we should not be featuring sportingly.
Yet we do. McGregor, Taylor, O’Sullivan, Carruth, McGuigan, Keane, Keane, Irwin, Haughton, O’Connell, Murray, O’Driscoll, Munster, Leinster, Ulster, the Irish Rugby team as a unit are all past world champions for both club and country. Lanigan O’Keeffe is up there now too.
He is European Champion. And he’s not finished yet…not by a long shot.
We sat down with the Kilkenny and Dublin native and asked him the questions we wanted to ask:
TPJ: 1. – Who was your biggest rival in Bath and in the sport in general?
Arthur: Europe is the strongest continent for modern pentathlon so I had many Rivals for the title. The final was full of TOP class athletes but if I were to name a few I would say David Svoboda – CZE (2012 Olympic Champion), Adam Marosi – HUN (2012 Olympic Bronze medalist), Alex Lesun – RUS (2014 World & European Champion), Ricardo Deluca ITA (2015 World Cup Final Champion & World ranked No.2) & the list just goes on and on…!
TPJ: – 2. Was it tough to win it?
Arthur: Its always tough to win a major title let alone on Olympic Qualification year. I had to have a perfect day and as it turned out I did. It was a big surprise for many to see me on top of the podium even I had to pinch myself at stages.
TPJ: – 3. What music did you listen to just before the race?
Arthur: It was an early morning start, 6am, and I needed some serious goosebumps music to get me going. I listen to Heart of courage by Thomas Bergersen. When I really want to get my fire burning I always go back to powerful instrumental music it allows the mind to dream.
TPJ: – 4. Are you looking forward to Rio?
I have been training all my life for my moment that’s over 10,000 hours of training. “Looking forward” doesn’t do it justice, imagine Christmas times 1,000. I think about my moment in Rio everyday at least 5 times. It gives me purpose its my life.
TPJ – 5. You have the full support of your country, you know that already. What do you do from now to Rio to prep?
Arthur: First off I have a 3 week break to allow the mind and body recover. Then train harder than ever before travel the world training and competing and ultimately SMASH RIO, Well that’s the plan!!
So there you have it, like and share if you think our kid has a chance. He’s relying on our support to help him win. At TPJ we’re fully behind him. Are you?
Best from Ireland mate,